The Delhi Police sought initiation of contempt proceedings in the Supreme Court against activist Harsh Mander for his remarks against the top court. The police made this submission in an affidavit filed in the court on Wednesday.
The court was hearing petitions, including one by Mander, for registration of first information reports (FIRs) against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for alleged hate speech that may have instigated the violence in Northeast Delhi last week.
But, the focus of the Supreme Court turned to a December speech made by Mander in which he spoke about the court.
One of the judges on the bench, justice BR Gavai, reportedly first mentioned the speech. This was picked up by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is representing the Centre in the case. He alleged that Mander had made derogatory remarks against the top court at a rally against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, at Jamia Milia Islamia.
Mehta, appearing for Delhi Police, said he had a transcript of the speech . According to him, Mander allegedly said he did not have faith in the apex court and that it did not safeguard “humanity, secularism and equality” in the cases relating to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Ayodhya, and Kashmir. He added that Mander also said “ultimate justice” could only be received on the streets.
“If this is what you feel about the court, then we have to decide what to do with you”, Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, heading the bench, remarked.
The bench even refused to hear Mander’s plea and asked the Delhi Police to submit an affidavit.
Mander is known for taking a contemptuous stand and bringing the judiciary as an institution and individual judges to disrepute, Delhi Police said in its affidavit.
“It is, therefore, submitted that the petition filed by Sh. Harsh Mander may kindly be dismissed with exemplary costs and proceedings of contempt of court be initiated against him,” the affidavit added.
Mander’s lawyer, advocate Karuna Nundy, denied the allegations. She asked for a copy of the transcript. The court gave Mander the liberty to file his response to the allegations made by the solicitor general.